Living the Gospel

Living the Christian Life is radical. Our life is concerned with achieving the goal for which we were created: the beatific vision and life with the Triune God. And it really does go against what the world presents to us.  It is a challenge not to dilute the Gospel message, compromising with the world and thereby wandering off the narrow path. As Thomas Dubay’s masterful work Happy Are You Poor demonstrates, this tendency is all too prevalent in our own time. Instead of following Christ, we change the definitions of the terms to meet our current way of life. We substitute our ideas of poverty, obedience, charity, and other virtues for those presented to us by Christ. In this way we don’t have to inconvenience ourselves by making any real changes in our lives.

Dubay relies on the lives of the saints as authentic witnesses, confirmed by the Church, who show us how to live genuinely the radical message of the Gospel. The saints live in different times, in different vocations, but they all point to the oneness and greatness of that truth. They see that even the smallest sin, the smallest turning away from God, is a serious matter. Mother Teresa reminded her sisters that being unfaithful in the smallest of things makes it easier to fall further the next time a temptation comes. Sin creates other loyalties and divides the heart from Jesus.

The saints are also calling us to holiness by their lives and deeds, challenging us to live for God alone, confessing our sins, forgiving those who have hurt us, and growing in genuine love for God and our neighbor. A particular example of this is found in the fourteenth-century life of the Italian Dominican St. Catherine of Siena. At that time, when the popes were also the rulers of a large territorial state, various rebellions occurred. St. Catherine expended much effort writing to both the popes and the revolting Italian city-states. She encouraged the city-states to submit to their rightful ruler, and she reminded the popes to be loving and compassionate to all their subjects, receiving the prodigal sons back in the same manner as Christ does for all his children.

As we enter into Lent this year, let us study and imitate more closely the lives of the saints so that we may not live the Christian life superficially, but radically embrace Our Lord’s Life. Let His blood, which was poured out for us, permeate us, transforming our sinful selves into that man or woman which God created us to be—a child of God fully living in His image and likeness. The path is one of temptation and suffering, but because it is the path of God, it is easy to run joyfully past the difficulties, singing hymns of praise through the trials and pain, like St. Dominic being led on a “shortcut” through the brambles by some malicious tricksters. It is a radical life and it is the only true way to attain everlasting happiness.

All you saints, holy men and women of God, pray for us on our Lenten Journey.

Image: Domenico Beccafumi, The Miraculous Communion of St. Catherine of Siena



You May Also Enjoy:

On the Bills and the Blessed “Ladies and gentlemen: thank you for joining us on Dominicana today for this analogical journey! The train (of thought) on which you have embarked is an express line with nonstop service to Buffalo, NY. Please ensure that this is your desired destination. In the event of a blizzard, your seat cushion may be used as a sled. Now, we encourage you to sit back and enjoy the trip. The attendant will be coming by shortly with complementary wings…” O...
Little Things The difference between a good haircut and a bad haircut is three days. My long-time barber explained his philosophy noting that three days is the time that it takes to get adjusted to something. While I would make an exception for a horrible or really uneven haircut, I agree with his general sentiment that we get accustomed to new things very quickly. Our ability as humans to quickly adapt to new situations is a wonderful skill, but I wonder h...
Striving for Greatness “You are fine just the way you are.” Those who have attended secular educational institutions in the past few decades have heard this mantra of self-acceptance repeated ad nauseam. We even hear the line echoed on tv or in our songs and music.  There is something reassuring about this line because it is half true. Indeed, God loves us and we are loved just the way we are because of God’s infinite goodness. And that is a profound and wonderful t...
Agnes and Catherine Bl. Raymond of Capua, friend and biographer of St. Catherine of Siena, concludes the middle part of his Life of Catherine with an account of a pilgrimage she made to Montepulciano. “It was revealed to Catherine,” he writes, “that in the Kingdom of Heaven she was to be put on a level with the blessed Sister Agnes of Montepulciano” (who had died about 150 years earlier). So Catherine wanted “to visit that Sister’s relics, in order to enjoy already ...
Br. Nicholas Schneider, O.P.

Written by:

Br. Nicholas Schneider, O.P. was born and raised in Vermont. He spent his final semester of high school studying in Russia, and went on to earn a BA in History and Russian at Youngstown State University (OH) and an MA in Russian History at Georgetown University. He served as Director/Assistant Dean for Admissions at Georgetown University School of Medicine for five years prior to entering the Dominicans. On